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Press Review


“Iravunk” does not share opposition leaders’ optimism about an imminent “revolution” in Armenia, while noting that the country’s leadership is seriously worried about such possibility. “Armenia’s ruling clan is ready to cling to power at any cost, even if that is done at the expense of national and state interests.” Still, the authorities are also prepared for greater cooperation with the West as evidenced by their acceptance of Venice Commission recommendations on constitutional reform. The paper believes that will complicate a repeat of “mass repressions and falsifications” in the next Armenian elections. “In 2008, Serzh Sarkisian, who is considered Robert Kocharian’s closest confidante and, so to speak, best successor, can not be voted in as a presidential candidate,” it claims.

“Aravot” editorializes both the authorities and the opposition are beset by a serious “paranoia.” Each opposition leader, says the paper, feels that “his chances of becoming president are so great and he is therefore so dangerous for the regime that the latter is constantly going out of its way to block his march to the royal throne.” If somebody doesn’t share that exuberance they are immediately branded government agents. “But it is more dangerous for the society when symptoms of that disease are shown by the government.”

In an interview with “Aravot,” opposition leader Aram Sarkisian makes the point that Armenia’s flawed constitution is not the root cause of its woes. “We are in favor of constitutional changes and do not think that the existing constitution is perfect,” he says. “On the other hand, we stress that the existing constitution does not state that elections can be rigged, that rallies and demonstrations are not allowed or that a person does not have freedom of movement. So the problem is not the law but [a lack of] the will to implement that law. When a law is violated in the country on a daily basis -- and these authorities can be registered in the Guinness Book for violating all constitutional provisions -- I find it simply ludicrous to speak of constitutional changes.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the opposition Artarutyun alliance and the National Unity Party (AMK) will again join forces this fall. AMK leader Artashes Geghamian is quoted as saying that they will try to form an even more broad-based opposition format.

(Atom Markarian)
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